Glossophobia 101 – The Fear of Public Speaking

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld

The sweating. The dizziness. The horror. The fear of public speaking, also known as glossophobia, tops the list as one of the most common phobias in the world. Millions upon millions of people are frightened to step on that stage and talk in front of a group; are you one of them? Here are some “fun” facts about a very “not-fun” phobia:

1. The term comes from the Greek words “glossa” and “phobos.” “Glossa” means “tongue or language,” and “phobos” is the personification of fear in Greek mythology.

2. It’s estimated that 75% of people suffer from speech anxiety, making it one of the most common phobias that exist.

3. Glossophobia, along with other social fears, is thought to begin at around age 13.

Glossophobia 101 - The Fear of Public Speaking
4. “The idea of making a presentation in public is the No. 1 fear reported by people in the U.S.” – Paul L. Witt, PhD

5. Glossophobia falls within a list of the top 10 phobias. So, what are the other ones?

“1.  Fear of public speaking (Glossophobia)

2.  Fear of death (Necrophobia)

3.  Fear of spiders (Arachnophobia)

4.  Fear of darkness (Achluophobia, Scotophobia or Myctophobia)

5.  Fear of heights (Acrophobia)

6.  Fear of people or social situations (Sociophobia)

7.  Fear of flying (Aerophobia)

8.  Fear of open spaces (Agoraphobia)

9.  Fear of thunder and lightning (Brontophobia)

10 Fear of confined spaces (Claustrophobia)” (Source)

6. Globally, up to 5% of the world’s population (many hundreds of millions) suffer from glossophobia every year.

7. Why do so many people suffer? Perhaps it’s due to the fact that about half of the population are considered to be introverted.

8. How can you combat glossophobia? We’ve created a handy guide.

It might give you comfort to know that you’re not alone experiencing glossophobia. And while it’s hard to go through life and work without having to give a speech at some point, you can at least avoid delivering one on a plane filled with spiders, during a thunderstorm, and in the dark.

Question: Have you ever experienced glossophobia? 


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